Give winnings on me to church, new archbishop says

LONDON Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:04pm EST

The Bishop of Durham, and the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, smiles during a news conference at Lambeth Palace in London November 9, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The Bishop of Durham, and the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, smiles during a news conference at Lambeth Palace in London November 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

LONDON (Reuters) - Gamblers who made money betting on the identity of the next spiritual head of the Anglican church should donate their winnings, the newly-nominated Archbiship of Canterbury said.

"Thought in the night, those who made money betting on me give it to their local church! I suspect it was less than papers suggest," Justin Welby, 56, a former oil executive who was named the next leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans on Friday, wrote on Twitter.

Bookmakers said they suspended betting on Welby getting the job earlier in the week after a sudden flurry of bets.

While there had been intense speculation over whether the church would choose a reformer or a safe pair of hands, Welby, who is against gay marriage but favors the ordination of women as bishops, had emerged as the clear favorite.

He explained later: "It's a very strange feeling when you find yourself having odds quoted on you at a bookie.

"Generally speaking I am not a horse, I think that's a really important point to get across."

Bookmaker Ladbrokes said it had donated 1,000 pounds to Canterbury Cathedral following the comments by Welby, who will become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury after incumbent Rowan Williams retires in December.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Jason Webb)

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